Before the sun deigned to appear, however, I took a trip to Fowlmead, that strangely-named coal mining spoil heap that has been turned into a country park. Well if the Welsh and the northerners can do it, why not us?
Vegetation is encroaching nicely now, but because there's very little soil it encourages mini-plants that are not crowded out by larger more invasive ones. Sheep's Sorrel is one such, spreading widely but nowhere more than a couple of inches tall.
Of course these tiny plants tax my identification skills, so I'll not guess but just enjoy them for themselves.
Another small plant that has spread profusely is the Early Forget-me-Not, giving a bluish tinge to much of the slag heap. There were plenty of birds about, although not within shooting distance - singing Reed and Sedge Warblers may have attracted a Cuckoo that called off and on as it staked out the reedbeds surrounding the heap; a pair of Turtle Doves flew over, and two female Wheatears patrolled the protected area in which a Lapwing displayed to his sitting mate.
That area is perfect for Stone Curlews - if only.
Elsewhere, clinging to a church wall was plenty of Ivy-leaved Toadflax, while adorning the graves were drifts of Speedwell - is this Ivy-leaved too, or Germander?
When there's no birds about, you've always got a friend - namely the faithful reliable Little Owl.